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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 113

(Question No. 4466)

Mr Reith asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 21 August 1986:

(1) Has the Government received any applications to provide funds for research into the effects of cannabis and other drugs on road safety and driving ability.

(2) If so, what funds have been or will be provided and to whom.

(3) If no funds have been provided, why not.

This answer replaces the answer published in Hansard on 13 November 1986.

Dr Blewett —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)-(3) Under the various research grant schemes administered by my Department only one application for funding for research into the effects of cannabis and other drugs on road safety and driving ability was received in the 1985/86 or in the current financial year. The application from Dr S. McLean, University of Tasmania was for a proposal entitled `Drugs and Road Traffic Accidents'. The proposal was not supported by the Research into Drug Abuse Advisory Committee which was established to advise on research proposals submitted for consideration under the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse.

I am advised that in January this year the Federal Office of Road Safety (FORS) released a report of a major study entitled `The Interaction Between Alcohol and Marijuana: A Dose Dependent Study of the Effects on Human Moods and Performance Skills' by Gregory Chesher, Helen Dauncey, John Crawford and Kim Horn, Psychopharmacology Research Unit, Department of Pharmacology, University of Sydney, New South Wales.

The study was commissioned by FORS in April 1983 and also received financial support from the NSW Drug and Alcohol Authority.

An estimated 15 per cent of the annual budget provided by the National Health and Medical Research Council for its Road Accident Research Unit in Adelaide is related to studies of the involvement of alcohol in road accidents. For 1986, funding for this work thus amounted to $50 000.